Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe

Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 15 Mins Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 35 Mins

If you’re looking for a classic cake that is moist, fluffy, and full of flavor, you can’t go wrong with Mary Berry’s coffee and walnut cake. This cake is one of my favorites, and I’m sure you’ll love it too. It’s easy to make, and the result is a stunning two-layer cake with creamy coffee buttercream frosting and crunchy walnuts. It’s perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a birthday, a tea party, or just a treat for yourself.

In this article, I’ll show you how to make this delicious cake step by step and share some tips and tricks to ensure it comes out perfectly every time. You’ll also learn how to store and freeze the cake, and how to make some variations if you want to try something different.

Let’s get started!

What is Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe?

Mary Berry coffee and walnut cake is a classic British cake that consists of two layers of moist and fluffy coffee-flavored sponge cake, sandwiched and frosted with a creamy coffee buttercream. It is decorated with walnut halves and sometimes piped rosettes. It is named after Mary Berry, a famous British baker and cookbook author, who popularized this recipe in her books and TV shows.

Other Mary Berry Recipes:

Why You Love this Recipe

This recipe for Mary Berry’s coffee and walnut cake is a favorite for several compelling reasons:

  • Ease of Preparation: The process is straightforward, utilizing readily available ingredients and basic kitchen equipment.
  • Flavorful Combination: The deep, aromatic coffee flavor beautifully balances the nutty notes of the walnuts, creating a rich taste experience.
  • Versatility: Ideal for various occasions – from birthdays and tea parties to a simple personal indulgence.
  • Storage and Adaptability: This cake keeps well when stored or frozen, and offers room for creative variations with different ingredients or decorative touches.

Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake

To make this cake, you’ll need the following ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 225 g (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225 g (8 oz) self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 75 g (3 oz) chopped walnuts

For the buttercream:

  • 125 g (4.5 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 g (7 oz) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 12 walnut halves, for decoration

Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake

Useful Equipment

You’ll also need the following equipment:

  • Two 20 cm (8 inches) round cake tins, greased and lined with baking paper
  • A large mixing bowl
  • An electric mixer or a wooden spoon
  • A wire rack
  • A palette knife or a spatula
  • A piping bag and a star nozzle (optional)

Instructions to Make Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake

Follow these steps to make this cake:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the cake tins

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan, gas mark 4).
  • Grease two 20 cm (8 inches) round cake tins and line the bottoms with baking paper.

Step 2: Cream the butter and sugar together

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add the eggs, one at a time

  • Crack one egg into a small bowl and whisk lightly with a fork.
  • Add it to the butter and sugar mixture and beat well.
  • Repeat with the remaining eggs, adding them one at a time and beating well after each addition.
  • If the mixture looks curdled, don’t worry, it will come together once you add the flour.

Step 4: Fold in the flour, baking powder, and coffee

  • Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture and fold in gently with a metal spoon or a spatula.
  • Don’t overmix, or the cake will be tough.
  • Add the dissolved coffee and fold in until well combined.
  • Stir in the chopped walnuts.

Step 5: Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake

  • Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cake tins and smooth the tops with a spatula.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • The cakes should be golden and springy to the touch.

Step 6: Cool the cakes on a wire rack

  • Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the tins for 5 minutes.
  • Then, turn them out onto a wire rack and peel off the baking paper.
  • Leave them to cool completely before frosting.

Instructions to Make the Buttercream

Step 1: Beat the butter and icing sugar together

  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon until soft and creamy.
  • Gradually add the icing sugar, beating well after each addition, until you have a smooth and fluffy buttercream.

Step 2: Add the coffee and beat again

  • Add the dissolved coffee and beat again until well combined.
  • The buttercream should be thick and spreadable.
  • If it’s too runny, you can add more icing sugar.
  • If it’s too stiff, you can add more coffee or a splash of milk.

Step 3: Frost the cake

  • Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread half of the buttercream over the top with a palette knife or a spatula.
  • Place the other cake layer on top and spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sides of the cake.
  • You can use a piping bag and a star nozzle to pipe some rosettes around the edge of the cake if you like.
  • Decorate with the walnut halves.
Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake
Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake

What I Can Serve with Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake

Mary Berry’s coffee and walnut cake is a delicious classic dessert that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of complementary dishes and beverages.

Here are some tasty options to consider serving alongside a slice of this cake:


  • Coffee or espresso
  • Tea (English breakfast, Earl Grey, herbal)
  • Hot chocolate
  • Milk or non-dairy milk

The coffee and walnut flavors of the cake make coffee or espresso an obvious pairing. The cake’s sweetness balances the bitterness of black coffee nicely. Tea also complements the flavor profile, with Earl Grey’s bergamot notes contrasting nicely against the nuttiness.


  • Fresh fruit (berries, sliced nectarines, or plums)
  • Sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
  • Toasted nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans)
  • Crème fraîche or mascarpone cheese

The tang of crème fraîche or mascarpone cheese helps cut through the cake’s richness. The additional crunch of toasted nuts reinforces the walnut theme. Sweetened whipped cream is a classic cake accompaniment. Fresh fruit gives a tart counterpoint and adds nutrition.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake

To enhance your experience in baking this cake, consider these expert tips:

  • Select High-Quality Ingredients: Opt for premium ingredients like fresh unsalted butter, free-range eggs, and genuine vanilla extract. Choose a robust variety of instant coffee granules, like espresso or dark roast, for a fuller flavor.
  • Temperature Matters: For a smoother, more cohesive batter, ensure your butter, eggs, and coffee are at room temperature. Soften the butter quickly in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds, and warm the eggs by placing them in warm water for 10 minutes.
  • Watch the Baking Time: Prevent a dry texture by not overbaking. Check the cake at 20 minutes with a skewer; if it’s clean, the cake is ready. If not, extend the baking time slightly but avoid exceeding 25 minutes to maintain the cake’s moisture.
  • Ideal Storage Conditions: Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days for optimal freshness. It can also be refrigerated for a week; ensure it’s brought to room temperature before serving.
  • Freezing for Future Enjoyment: For advance preparation or preserving leftovers, freeze the cake for up to three months. Wrap each layer separately in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. When ready to enjoy, thaw at room temperature for 2-3 hours before frosting and decorating.

Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe Mary Berry

Variations of Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake

If you want to try some variations of this cake, here are some ideas:

  • Add some chocolate. For a mocha twist, you can add some cocoa powder to the cake batter and the buttercream, or drizzle some melted chocolate over the top of the cake. You can also use chocolate chips or chunks instead of walnuts, or use both for a double chocolate treat.
  • Use different nuts. If you’re not a fan of walnuts, you can use other nuts, such as pecans, almonds, pistachios, or hazelnuts. You can chop them and add them to the batter, or use them whole or sliced for decoration.
  • Make it gluten-free. To make this cake gluten-free, you can use a gluten-free self-raising flour blend, or plain gluten-free flour and add 2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum. Make sure the other ingredients, such as the coffee and the baking powder, are also gluten-free.
  • Make it dairy-free. To make this cake dairy-free, you can use a dairy-free butter substitute, such as margarine or vegan butter, for both the cake and the buttercream. You can also use dairy-free milk, such as almond, soy, or oat milk, to thin the buttercream if needed.

How do I store Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake Leftovers?

To store the cake leftovers, you have two options:

  • At room temperature: You can store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. This will keep the cake fresh and moist, and the buttercream soft and creamy.
  • In the refrigerator: You can store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. This will keep the cake longer, but the buttercream will harden and the cake will become firmer. You can bring the cake to room temperature before serving it for the best taste and texture.

How do I reheat Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Cake Leftovers?

To reheat the cake leftovers, you have two options:

  • In the microwave: You can reheat the cake in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds, or until slightly warm. This will soften the buttercream and the cake, but be careful not to overheat it, or the buttercream will melt and the cake will dry out.
  • In the oven: You can reheat the cake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until warm, at 150°C (130°C fan, gas mark 2). This will warm the cake and the buttercream, but it may also dry out the cake a bit. You can cover the cake with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning too much.

Nutrition value per slice (based on 12 slices):

  • Calories: 811kcal
  • Fat: 22g
  • Carbohydrate: 40g
  • Protein: 7g


How can I make this cake vegan or gluten-free?

To make this cake vegan, you can use softened vegan butter, vegan milk, and coconut cream to replace dairy products. You can also use a vegan egg replacer or 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce for the eggs. (If using applesauce, add an extra ½ teaspoon baking powder.) To make this cake gluten-free, you can use your favorite measure-for-measure gluten-free flour instead of plain flour.

What can I use instead of Camp essence for the coffee flavor?

Camp essence is an old-fashioned flavoring made from chicory root, which tastes like coffee and has a very distinctive flavor. If you can’t find it, you can use espresso powder instead. Dissolve 4 teaspoons (or up to 3 tablespoons) of espresso powder in 1-2 tablespoons of hot water. Use in place of the Camp essence in the cake. Add more dissolved espresso powder to taste for the buttercream.

Does caffeine cook out of cake?

No, the caffeine in the coffee does not cook out of the cake. Depending on the amount of coffee you use, each slice of cake may contain some caffeine. For example, if you use 100ml of espresso in the cake mix, you’ll be left with roughly 125mg of caffeine in the whole cake. Say you cut it into 12 slices, that’s 10mg each.

Can I substitute the walnuts in this recipe if I have a nut allergy?

Yes, you can modify the recipe if you have a nut allergy or simply prefer a different flavor. Instead of walnuts, you can either omit nuts entirely or replace them with seeds like pumpkin or sunflower for a crunchy texture. Keep in mind that this will change the flavor profile slightly, but the cake will still be delicious.

Is there a way to make this cake less sweet without compromising its texture?

To reduce the sweetness, you can decrease the amount of sugar in the cake batter by up to 25% without significantly affecting the texture. For the buttercream, you can reduce the icing sugar or substitute part of it with a sugar substitute designed for baking. However, altering the sugar content might slightly change the cake’s moisture and the frosting’s texture.

How can I ensure my cake layers rise evenly and don’t dome in the middle?

To achieve even cake layers, make sure your oven is correctly preheated and that you’re using the correct baking temperature. Distribute the batter evenly between the tins, and consider using cake strips around your pans to ensure even baking. Additionally, avoid opening the oven door frequently as fluctuations in temperature can affect how the cake rises. If the cakes do dome, you can trim them once cooled for an even layer.

My buttercream seems too runny; how can I fix it?

If your buttercream is too runny, it often means the butter was too soft when you started, or there’s too much liquid. To fix this, you can gradually add more sifted icing sugar until you reach the desired consistency. If the buttercream is still runny after adding more sugar, chilling it in the refrigerator for a short time can also help it firm up before you attempt to spread or pipe it onto the cake.


I hope you enjoyed this article and learned how to make Mary Berry’s coffee and walnut cake. This cake is a classic and delicious dessert that is sure to impress your guests and satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s easy to make, and you can customize it with different ingredients and decorations. Try it today and let me know how it turns out!

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